The Oldie Literary Lunches have become a venerable institution on the London literary scene since they were first launched in 1996. Held monthly at Simpson's-in-the-Strand, the lunches feature three speakers who each address the audience for ten minutes. A delicious three-course lunch with wine accompanies the talks.
To book tickets call Katherine or Jenny on 01225 42 73 11 between the hours of 9am and 3pm, Monday-Friday.
Tickets cost £62
Click here to listen in on our previous lunches
John Julius Norwich on Sicily
We are delighted to welcome back one of our best speakers, on one of his
favourite subjects, Sicily, which he first wrote about nearly fifty years ago
in The Normans in the South and Kingdom in the Sun. Now he is exploring
its entire history from volcanic eruptions to imperial assassinations, not
forgetting Nelson's extra-marital affairs.
Jerry White on Zeppelin Nights
White has writted eight books about London, including a trilogy exploring
the cepital during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In
Zeppelin Nights, he narrows his gaze to the impact of the First World War
on the city, the prelude to the Blitz.
Rachel Johnson on Fresh Hell
Rachel Johnson will be talking about her long-awaited sequel to Notting Hell,
the brilliant expose of the absurd antics of West London's village of the rich
and hopeless, who are also Rachel's neighbours.
**BUXTON LITERATURE FESTIVAL**
LUNCH AT THE OLD HALL HOTEL, BUXTON
Accommodation: Old Hall Hotel www.oldhallhotelbuxton.co.uk;
Roseleigh Guest-House www.roseleighhotel.co.uk
Prue Leith on a culinary life.
Restaurateur, founder of Leith’s Cookery School and author of a dozen cookery
books, Prue Leith is a glutton for life, as detailed in her memoir Relish.
Not content to stay in the kitchen, she has turned her hand to novel-writing and
will talk about her most recent fiction, as well as a life immersed in food.
Kate Mosse on The Taxidermist’s Daughter.
Kate Mosse – author of Labyrinth and The Winter Ghosts – makes her Oldie
literary lunch debut to tell us about The Taxidermist’s Daughter, a gothic
psychological thriller set on the flooded marshlands of the author’s native
West Sussex on the Eve of St Mark, 1912.
Jonathon Fryer on Soho in the Fifties.
As a foreign reporter, Fryer’s voice will be familiar from BBC Radio 4’s
From Our Own Correspondent. As a historian, he has published a dozen
books focusing on particularly debauched figures, including Oscar Wilde,
Dylan Thomas and the inhabitants of Soho in its hedonistic heyday of the
Fifties and Sixties.
Pam St Clement on The End of an Earring
As Pat Butcher in Eastenders, St Clement found herself playing a
prostitute, pub landlady and murder witness. In her autobiography
(named for the ostentatious jewellery worn by her character), the
actress recounts her 25-year career in one of Britain’s most avidly
watched soap operas.
Angela Huth on Colouring In
The author of Land Girls was delighted when fellow authoress, Susan
Hill, offered to publish her twelfth novel. The plot of is divulged by
each character in turn, thus revealing more abut themselves and the
events, thus proving that no two people see things the same way, and
that none of us is as we appear.
Ingrid Seward on The Queen's Speech
As royal biographer, editor of Majesty magazine and international commentator,
Ingrid Seward is one of the most reputable and respected writers on the British
royal family. Author of Diana and Sarah HRH The Duchess of York, her most recent
book, The Queen’s Speech, intimately portrays our monarch through her speeches.
Virginia Nicholson on Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes
The great niece of Virginia Woolf, Nicholson’s histories Singled Out
and Millions Like Us depict the impact of the First and Second World
Wars on women. Perfect Wives moves into the next decade of the
Fifties, ‘a decade when marriage seemed unassailable and femininity
carried the imperative of a life force.’
Richard Davenport-Hines on Universal Man:
The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes
Davenport-Hines, authority on subjects from poet WH Auden to
the Profumo Affair, turns his eye to the twentieth century’s great
economist John Maynard Keynes. By exploring those ‘seven lives’ –
altruist, boy prodigy, official, public man, lover, connoisseur and
envoy – Davenport-Hines shows how Keynes became so influential,
and why he remains so seventy years later.
Matthew Rice on Rice’s Church Primer
Illustrator Rice is the architecture enthusiast behind the lavishly
illustrated Village Buildings of Britain and Rice’s Architectural Primer.
His latest work explains the language of church architecture, from
the restrained Norman style of William the Conqueror to the gilded
excesses of the Baroque, while his ceramic designs for wife
Emma Bridgewater can be found in kitchens across Britain.
**RYE ARTS FESTIVAL**
Oliver Kamm on Accidence will Happen:
The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage
As a journalist, Oliver Kamm is used to having his grammar corrected
into incoherence. His latest grammar book provides a welcome antidote
to pedantry, proving that many so-called linguistic ‘rules’ may be
abandoned, and that it is not a crime to wantonly split an infinitive.
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst on The Story of Alice:
Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland.
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, whose previous works include the exhaustive
biography Becoming Dickens, here explores another Victorian giant of
literature, Lewis Carroll. In the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland’s
publication, Douglas-Fairhurst considers the relationship between the
controversial children’s author and his ‘dream-child’ Alice Liddell.
Harry Mount on Harry Mount's Odyssey: Ancient
Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus
Several millennia after the Homeric hero undertook his journey,
Harry Mount – whose Amo, Amas Amat… and All That convinced
readers to ‘put a little Latin in your life’ – followed Odysseus’s epic
trail. His Odyssey recounts his voyage from Troy to the Hellespont,
and shows why Ancient Greece was truly the greatest civilisation.
Blake Morrison on Shingle Street
Blake Morrison first won acclaim for his memoir And When Did You Last See Your Father? In his first full–length collection of poems for nearly thirty years, Shingle Street addresses everything from the Suffolk coast to urgent political issues and dear figures of the past.
Loyd Grossman on Benjamin West and the Struggle to be Modern
Conservationist and gastronome Loyd Grossman tells the extraordinary tale of Benjamin West, the celebrated Pennsylvania-born artist of the 18th century who rose through the ranks of British artists to become the second president of the Royal Academy. Most famous for The Death of General Wolfe, West inspired a generation of British and American artists.
Kwasi Kwarteng on War and Gold: A Five–Hundred–Year History of Empires, Adventures and Debt
Historian and ex–politician Kwasi Karteng has frequently been praised for his originality when analysing historical events, particularly for his first book Ghosts of Empire. In his new work, Kwarteng chronicles the fiscal devastation and finally reclamation to which the world has been victim since the sixteenth century.
Adam Sisman on John le Carré: The Biography
Biographer Adam Sisman turns his hand to John le Carré in his most recent work. Whilst retelling the life of the best–selling author through his traumatic childhood, recruitment in both MI5 and MI6 and his emergence as the master of the espionage novel, Sisman gains exclusive access to much previously unseen information.
Charles Moore on Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume Two: Everything She Wants
Charles Moore was chosen by Thatcher herself as her biographer of choice before her death. Since then, he has published two comprehensive volumes on the Iron Lady, praised for characterising her childhood as well as her role as Britain’s first female Prime Minister. He will return to Simpson’s to talk about volume two.
Stephen Clarke on How the French Won Waterloo – or Think They Did
Stephen Clarke, author of A Thousand years of Annoying the French settled in Paris over a decade ago, and has been sharing his observations of the French ever since. He still has qualms about certain French attitudes, which he puts to paper in his new book How the French Won Waterloo – or Think They Did, painting the French version of Wellington and Blücher’s victory in 1815.
Paul Willetts on Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms
Paul Willetts, the chronicler of Soho and Fitzrovia, has dug up a spy story as unlikely but as true as Triple Cross, Ben Macintyre’s best-selling tale of Eddie Chapman. The protagonists include a White Russian Nazi spy and a US embassy code clerk who is also a Soviet agent.
Jonathan Fenby on The History of Modern France: From the Revolution to the Present Day
Having spent over a decade as the Reuters’ bureau chief in Paris, Jonathan Fenby explores the tempestuous history of modern France in his new book The History of Modern France: From the Revolution to the Present Day.
Gyles Brandreth on Wordplay
Gyles Brandreth, the star performer of our Christmas lunch who would entertain if he read from Yellow Pages, reveals why he is such a star on Just a Minute: prepare for a linguistic frenzy of palindromes, mnemonics, malapropos and acronyms.
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